Introduction to Exploration & Drilling (1 day)

An overview of exploration and drilling.


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Target audience

The course is designed for personnel who work in or with the oil industry but have little or no exploration-specific technical background. This includes administration staff, technical support staff, and those in management or professional roles whose background is in a field other than Earth Science.It is also suitable for brokers, bankers, IT support, environmental officers, generals managers and others who would benefit from an understanding of how the industry collects and interprets and manages their basic data.

Course objectives

The course provides an overview of the business of petroleum exploration from acreage selection through drilling a well to final discovery of an oil or gas field. It highlights the multi-disciplinary nature of the business, examines the tools and methods used in exploration and drilling and provides an understanding of the technical terminology.

Course outline

Acreage acquisition and the exploration work program
  • How and why exploration groups are put together (joint ventures, operators, non-operators, risk management)
  • How companies acquire exploration acreage (permits, open acreage, acreage release mechanisms, work programs, farmins/farmouts)
  • Role of government (legislative and environmental controls)
Petroleum geology
  • Why companies explore where they do (rock types and their properties, what makes an area prospective)
  • Where oil and gas come from (source, seal, reservoir, generation, migration, trapping mechanisms)
  • How oil and gas fields are found (basin analysis, regional studies, play concepts, prospect generation)
Petroleum geophysics
  • How explorers determine what it looks like below the surface of the earth
  • How seismic works (acquisition and processing)
  • What seismic tells us (interpretation, mapping and quantitative analysis)
Exploration drilling
  • Well planning, procedures and costs
  • Rig types and components of a drilling rig
  • Basic wireline logs, measurement while drilling
  • Drilling the well (hoisting, circulating, rotating and control systems)
  • Special techniques – deviated and horizontal drilling
  • Evaluating the well (mudlogging, coring, wireline logging, VSPs, flow testing)
  • Drilling problems and their management (kicks, blowouts, fishing, side-tracking)
  • What it all means – interpreting the results
  • Completion for production and/or abandonment
Economics and risk
  • Why we drill so many dry holes (outcomes, prospect risking and ranking)
  • How risks are determined and managed (geological and commercial risk)
  • Reserves definition and estimation